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To Go To Some Great Height And Look Down

I’m the soul in the body
of the man named Nijinsky.
Gaunt, I eat little, only
what the spirit feeds me.
I hate having a bloated
stomach. It inhibits dancing.

I’m afraid of crowds,
of dancing for them—
they demand a joyful jig
but joy is death. They feel
nothing but want
my life to match theirs.

—Liu Xia, from Rant, translated by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern, published by PEN America

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